The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Dermot Ahern TD, today published a new report on training and development in An Garda Síochána.

In February 2008 the Garda Commissioner established a group to review training and development for garda and civilian staff in An Garda Síochána and to make recommendations to further improve and reinvigorate garda training in line with best practice in order to meet the new challenges of a changing society.

The review group was chaired by Pat McLoughlin, formerly of the Health Service Executive, and included a senior representative of AIB, a former chief executive of the Higher Education and Training Awards Council, a professor from UCD, senior representatives of An Garda Síochána, and a representative each from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and the Department of Finance.

The review group carried out an extensive analysis of the training needs of the organisation and consulted widely with staff across all ranks and grades. Consultations were also held with relevant bodies such as the Garda Inspectorate, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and the Higher Education and Training Awards Council and police forces internationally.

Commenting on the report, the Minister said:

"I am delighted to announce the publication of this major report on training and development in An Garda Síochána. An Garda Síochána has always rightly put huge emphasis on the training and development of its recruits and members. The superb facilities at the Garda College bear witness to that priority. It is also right that the quality and relevance of training, especially in an organisation of such national importance as An Garda Síochána, is constantly reviewed and developed in line with changing circumstances. 

The report which has resulted found significant strengths in the wide diversity of training provided in An Garda Síochána, both to student Gardaí and to serving members and civilian staff. However, it also identified areas where the organisation, management and delivery of training could be further enhanced, with considerable benefits for An Garda Síochána, the policing service it provides and the people it serves.

I want to thank Pat McLoughlin, chairman of the working group, and all its members who drew up the report, as well as all those who contributed and made submissions to it. I know that the Commissioner will over the coming months progressively implement these very significant and wide-ranging improvements in Garda training, and he will have my full backing and support in that process."

The Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy acknowledged the work of the members of the Review Group saying:

"This is an important and valuable piece of work which will serve An Garda Síochána into the future. The higher the quality of training we can provide to our people, the better service we can provide to the community. It is essential that everyone joining An Garda Síochána receives high quality training which meets best international standards.

I am also committed to ensuring that development and continuous learning opportunities are available to civilian and garda personnel as they progress through their careers. We have an excellent facility here at the Garda College in Templemore which has served us well for many years and has had significant technological and other enhancements in the more recent past. We will continue to make maximum use of the facilities here to the benefit of all personnel in An Garda Síochána." 

Note for Editors:

Key recommendations of the Review Group Report

• There should be a new training and development model put in place, with an Assistant Commissioner given sole responsibility for overseeing and implementing this;

• The training sections in the Garda College should be restructured;

• There should be a better training support structure across all garda operational divisions, with divisional training managers;

• There should be a standardised process within Garda Divisions that objectively prioritises training opportunities based on developing the right knowledge and skills;

• The student/probationer training programme should be radically restructured into 3 phases instead of the current 5. Phase I would be for 32 weeks at the Garda College, at the end of which successful students would be attested (i.e. become members of the Garda Síochána with full police powers). Currently students are attested after 58 weeks. Phase II would be for 65 weeks based in Garda stations, and Phase III would consist of 7 weeks of exam preparation, exams and assessments;

• Student training at the Garda College should be more scenario-based and less classroom-based, so as to prepare students better for the policing challenges they will face;

• There should be better support for students who, after attestation, are assigned to Garda stations, with new field-training tutors playing a key role;

• Driver training should be provided within the student/probationer training programme;

• A lifelong learning philosophy should be instilled in the Garda Síochána, with a suite of mandatory and elective courses made available;

• A learning management system should be introduced in the Garda Síochána, to manage the administration and oversight of training;

• Specialist training facilities, such as firearms ranges, driver training areas and a mock urban structure, should be developed on the grounds of Dromard House in Tipperary, already purchased for this purpose, as soon as possible;

• Training for civilian staff in the Garda Síochána should be integrated into the general training structure for members.

The report is available on the Garda website - www.garda.ie.
 

19 February 2010

Membership of the Group
Mr. Pat McLoughlin Chairman, former Deputy CEO of the Health Services Executive
Ms Mary Twomey Head of Group Strategic Human Resources, AIB
Mr. Seamus Puirséil Former CEO,  Higher Education and Training Awards Committee (HETAC)
Professor Bairbre Redmond Deputy Registrar, Teaching and Learning, University College Dublin
Mr. Michael Flahive Assistant Secretary, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform
Mr. Martin Callinan Deputy Commissioner, An Garda Síochána
Mr. Louis Harkin Assistant Commissioner, An Garda Síochána
Mr. Jim O’Farrell Higher Principal Officer, Department of Finance
Mr. Alan Mulligan Director, Civilian HR, An Garda Síochána
Mr. Jack Nolan Chief Superintendent, An Garda Síochána, Secretary to Group